Monday, June 9, 2008

Special characters

   In a comment to my previous entry, Bea asked,
"how do you make that little degree symbol, anyway? I can't find it on my keyboard."
   Well, Bea, don't beat yourself up over it. You can't find it because it isn't on your keyboard. The degree symbol (º), and many other similar symbols, like the Yen (¥), Pound (£), and Euro (€) symbols, or the copyright (©), and trademark (™), symbols are special HTML entities. They are available using the html editor built into your journals software. For example, in order to create the degree symbol, switch your edit text box to the html setting, and type "°" (without the quotes). When you switch back to the text view, you will see the degree symbol.
   One of the most useful html entities I have discovered is the 'non-breaking space.' You may or may not have noticed, but the AOL Journals software has a tendency to eat spaces. You'll type something in, click 'save,' and check the result, only to find that the space between two words has disappeared - likethis. You click 'edit,' and insert a space, then click 'save' again. Sometimes that even works, but often, no matter what you do, those two words remain gluedtogether.
   The solution is simple. Switch to html view. Find those two words, and right between them, type " " (without the quotes). This will insert a space between those two words which is, in typeface lingo, non-collapsable. It forces the text editor to leave a space in there no matter what. The only odd thing that sometimes comes up is the fact that the 'non-breaking' part of that space means the text editor will never insert a line break between those two words. So if they occur near the end of a line, using a non-breaking space can result in a non-uniform line length.

   Sound too complicated? Never mess with the html functions of your journals software? Never fear. The most commonly used of the html entities all have keyboard shortcuts which work in most word processing programs and Internet browsers. If you are using Windows™, these shortcuts use the 'ALT' key and the numeric keypad buttons. For example, the degree symbol can be easily inserted as you type by holding down the 'ALT' key, and typing the numbers 167 on the numeric keypad. When you release the 'ALT' key, the degree symbolº will appear. 
   Here is a list of available special ALT characters. Your browser may not support all of them. Have fun experimenting.


dpoem said...

Thanks for posting the link to the HTML dictionary.  The one I have is a cumbersome collection that is impossible to search.  

This makes life easier....  


bhbner2him said...

OH, look at you!!!  Thanks for sharing.  It may make me more valuable at work.  ;o)  -  Barbara

princesssaurora said...

Another entry proving yet again you are a blog master!  More please!!

be well,

lv2trnscrb said...

thanks for posting this; I picked up some useful info

just wanted to say congratulations to you for winning the Caption game over at Magic Smoke; very cute caption

rjsisti said...

Congrats on winning "What is the Caption"


princesssaurora said...

Paul!  You won the caption contest again!  Yay for you!

be well,

bgilmore725 said...

It took me awhile to make it back, Paul, but thanks for answering my question. I didn't know that...¤ !! I checked out the special alt characters... it's like there's a whole 'nuther world out there I didn't know about, called HTML. I'm glad you mentioned the copyright symbol as well. I'm bookmarking that alt characters page for future reference. Have a great week! bea

lurkynat said...